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Revue and Rabbits (January 8-9 and January 15-30) Friday Flowers Dance (January 15) MLK Day Festivities (January 15-18) Art Happenings (January 16, 21, & 30) History of the United Nations (January 21 - February 27) Indian Music (January 23) VIDEO PICK SPOTLIGHT: Hines Center WORKSHOPS & MORE About SPIRIT PICKS About GISH CREATIVE
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Welcome to SPIRIT PICKS: A GUIDE TO INSPIRING ACTIVITIES IN HOUSTON You are receiving this email either because you signed up for it or because it’s something I thought would be of interest to you. If you would like to unsubscribe, please do so using the link in the footer of this email. And if you’re in Facebooklandia, please sidle over there and LIKE our page and please share it too. Make sure you don’t miss a single post: click on the drop-down LIKE button and then check “See First.” Thanks!

Each month I cull through HUNDREDS of events in Houston and curate the best for you by highlighting six inspiring events (“PICKS”) and one “SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT” (an inspiring person or bricks-and-mortar place) as well as products, classes and workshops, and services. I focus on culture and art, meditation, spiritual events, healthy living, one-of-a kind moments, and organizations that enlighten and inspire Houstonians. I’m so amazed by this city and I want to share my delight with you!

SPIRIT PICKS will always be free to my readers so I’ll need advertising support to offset the cost of researching, writing, and designing it. If you are interested in advertising, please contact me. And so that we can spread the news of these great happenings in Houston, please share this information far and wide via email and social media with your friends and family members that might be interested -- or send them this link:

Happy New Year! I love the possibilities that starting a new year brings. I hope your 2016 is off to a great start and that you’ll enjoy great things to come.

I have so much to tell you about and some great PICKS that I found this month so get out your calendar and start making notes. I love starting my new year by clearing the decks and focusing and there are some events coming up that will help you do just that: I’m teaching my popular What’s Your Purpose?” workshop with Kevin Casey at Body Mind & Soul and there are three Holotropic Breathwork events the weekend of January 22-24. Both of those events will help you clear out the clutter and get to the real YOU. Yoga is another way to get focused so be sure be sure to attend the Texas Yoga Conference, which rolls into town February 19-21. I’ll be leading a labyrinth walk and will have a booth so be sure to join me for all the fun.

There are two amazing new spaces in Houston that are having opening parties soon – this month’s SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT, the Hines Center, will be celebrating with a free grand opening on January 23 and MATCH (which was my SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT last month) will be celebrating with a ticketed event, “Light Up the Night,” on Friday, January 15. Want to know about other grand openings and arts events? I recommend you check out the Dance Card and the Houston Chamber Music Card and Artshound. They are my secret weapon when for finding PICKS for you!

On the more spiritual side of things, I am thrilled to announce that there is a new “Magdalene Community” starting up at Grace Episcopal Church – all the details are below. I read this article recently about prayer needing to be followed up with action. It’s an interesting one that looks at how we react to tragedies as a nation. We have so many tragedies on a daily basis (or so it seems) that it’s overwhelming so the only way I can deal with it is by looking around my own backyard and seeing where I can be of service. Here’s an easy way to serve: over the holidays I collected $10 gift cards to give to street people around us and it was such a great feeling to do that! I give out crackers and water bottles year-round but it was nice to throw in something extra. And if you are concerned about what’s happening with gun laws in our state and around the country, I recommend you get involved with Moms Demand Action. They are doing some great things.

This month’s VIDEO PICK is a spoken word poem called “Look Up” that is about unplugging so that we can connect to each other. My younger son introduced me to it and it’s a terrific commentary on the times we live in.

Click to view video
Click to view video

Have a great January, hug those you love, and happy PICK-ing!

Picks for the Month of January, 2016

Playhouse 1960


The Playhouse 1960 has been around since 1973 and annually stages a “Revue” – this year’s event takes place on January 8 at 8pm and January 9 at 2pm and 8pm. They promise all kinds of music in this special mash-up of genre-blending songs – music from Something Rotten to Meatloaf, Newsies to My Chemical Romance, and Frozen to a strange Norwegian Rock band!

And later this month (January 15-30), Playhouse 1960 is presenting Rabbit Hole,” the story of Becca and Howie Corbett who have everything a family could want until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart.

The Playhouse 1960 is located at 6814 Gant Road and tickets for all shows start at $15.

Friday Flowers


Jane Weiner’s Hope Stone, Inc. dance troupe has been on hiatus but, lucky for us, Jane occasionally throws a program onstage, as she is doing for one night only on Friday, January 15 at 8pm. She’s presenting “Friday Flowers,” based on her experiences as a struggling New York City dancer as well as readings from Steven Buchmann’s book “The Reason for Flowers.” Dancers will explore how flowers and the fruits they often become have fed, sustained, and inspired us throughout history while also celebrating the affirming message “I am worth it” in seven vignettes entitled Rose, Marigold, Geranium, Black-eyed Susan, Carnation, Daisy, and Chrysanthemum. I have been to many of Jane’s dance creations and I promise you, this one will be as brilliant as all of her others. She knows how to describe life through dance in ways I could never have imagined! Along with HSD dancers, guest artists will be Melody Mennite (Houston Ballet, Principal) and actors Troy Schulze (Catastrophic Theatre) and Amy Garner Buchanan (Main Street Theater, Stark Naked Theatre, Texas Repertory Theatre, Young Audiences of Houston).

Tickets for the show are “pay-what-you-want” and range from $10-$50; they can be purchased here. The show will take place at the beautiful Margaret Alkek Williams Dance Lab at The Houston Ballet Center for Dance.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is coming up soon – on Monday, January 18 -- and Houston offers a few ways to celebrate. The Rothko Chapel will be presenting two programs: Still Dreaming: Black Lives Matter, Hip Hop, and MLK’s Legacy” on Friday, January 15 at 7pm and a provocative one-day-only event on Monday, January 18 from 10am-6pm in which they will play speeches from his life at set times throughout the day. Listening to MLK’s voice in the quiet of the Chapel seems a perfect way to honor his memory. And, of course, there are other events! The theme of the MLK events in Houston this year is “It Takes a Village” and you can see all about the many happenings here. I’ll be taking my art car, Phoenix Rising, to the parade so be sure to wave when I roll by!

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Margarita Madness


There are several arts events around town but I want to highlight three for you. The Heritage Society is closing out its exhibition “Asian Americans in Houston: A Kaleidoscope of Cultures” on January 16. I visited them recently and enjoyed the exhibition as well as their lovely re-vamped gift shop. The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is celebrating its fifteenth year with a special “Margarita Madness” Quinceañera on January 21. And on January 30, the Texas Art Asylum is hosting the “Tiny Show”. The Asylum is a store for recycled items – “cool stuff for creative reuse.”

Czech Center Museum Houston


If you’ve never been to the Czech Center Museum Houston, you need to visit it! They’ve got a new exhibition opening this month, The History of the United Nations,” which is on view from January 21-February 27. The Museum offers language classes every Wednesday night and movies once a month – the next one is “The Monuments Men” on January 8. And on Saturday, January 9 at 4pm, Bill Boyce will be presenting a talk about his new book, Miss Fortune’s Last Mission, part of which centers around the Czech Republic.

The Museum is a labor of love by founders/directors husband-and-wife Effie and Bill Rosene and its goal is to offer presentations of non-biased, non-political and non-religious events focusing on the culture of a group of Slavs that settled in the central region of Europe and in particular their connection with the Austro-Hungarian Empire out of which multiple nations have derived. The Museum is located at 4920 San Jacinto and admission is $6/person and free for members.

Laya Taal Saadhna


The Indian Music Society of Houston presents “Laya Taal Saadhna” on Saturday, January 23 from 3-6:30pm. The evening will feature mesmerizing ensembles on the tabla, a percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in the traditional music of India. A challenging instrument to learn, playing the tabla well requires an experienced teacher and many years of devoted practice. “Laya Taal Saadhna,” an annual presentation by students of Houston Tabla Guru Pandit Shantilal Shah, showcases this beautiful art form.

This free program takes place at the University of Houston Student Center on the main UH campus.

Spirit Spotlight

Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer


East meets west in the new Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer, a ministry of Christ Church Cathedral, Houston’s oldest church and a place that I call home. I’m thrilled about the new Center because it brings together the faith practices of the Episcopal church with the explorations of faith traditions and spiritual practices around the world. The head of the Cathedral, Dean Barkley Thompson, described it this way: “Just as the Beacon [another ministry of Christ Church Cathedral] feeds hungry bodies in downtown Houston, the Hines Center will feed hungry souls.” The offerings will include everything from yoga and Qi Gong to art and labyrinth walking. And there will be plenty of educational programs, such as my speaker series WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics,” which is back on a monthly basis. My first speaker will be Hines Center director Brooke Summers-Perry on Friday, January 29 from noon-1pm so I hope you’ll join us and meet Brooke and Jenny Buergermeister, the Center’s program director. The Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer will host a special free, public grand opening celebration on Saturday, January 23 from 6–8pm.

The Hines Center is located at 500 Fannin Street, adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral at the corner of Fannin and Prairie Street. The goal of the Center is to support the human journey toward spiritual wholeness and to provide guidance to individuals as they contemplate how they identify and relate to God. In support of spiritual formation, a variety of educational and experiential offerings provide strategies to increase acceptance and awareness, and practice compassion. These educational programs offer practical tools to address blocks, bypasses, distractions and limiting beliefs that can distract from taking steps toward spiritual wholeness.


  • Friday, January 22, 6:30pm-Sunday, January 24, 12:30pm:
    THE ADVENTURE OF SELF-DISCOVERY: A Holotropic Breathwork™ Experience.

    “Stanislav Grof is one of the most important pioneers in the scientific understanding of consciousness. He and his wife, Christina have contributed both to its intellectual and experiential understanding through their work with Holotropic Breathwork™.” —Deepak Chopra

    Join Stanislav Grof, M.D., for the experiential weekend workshop, “The Adventure of Self-Discovery,” or his Friday evening lecture, “The Healing Potential of Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness.” Stan Grof is the co-originator (with Christina Grof) of Holotropic Breathwork™ and one of the founders of transpersonal psychology. Through effective breathing, powerful music, and a safe and honoring space (staffed with trained facilitators), Holotropic Breathwork™ allows you access to your own inner healing wisdom. Each individual goes on a personal inner journey that can include aspects of your personal biography, psychological death/rebirth, and all types of transpersonal states and experiences. There will be time for questions and discussion with Stan Grof. Emphasis is placed on integration of the breathwork experience in a supportive environment. If you can’t make this workshop, you can join their 6-day retreats in Taos, New Mexico; Chester, Connecticut; and Joshua Tree, California.

    The workshop is $325 until December 10; $375 after. For details and to register for any of these events, please click here. For hotel reservations at a group rate, please click here.

  • Saturday, January 9, 10am-noon:
    Heaven and Earth Cultural Meditation Tour

    Energy healer and breast cancer survivor Sandy Castillo leads a “Heaven and Earth Cultural Meditation Tour” starting at Rothko Chapel and ending with a Bless and Release Ceremonial Labyrinth Walk on the University of St. Thomas campus. Join friends and loved ones on this sacred healing journey while learning how to fully experience the heavenly canvases at Rothko Chapel and to walk the labyrinth. The tour will end by noon, at which time everyone is invited to the Path of Tea for lunch and tea. The walk is $10/person. To learn more about the tour, click here. To learn more about Sandy, click here and to register, call her at 713.232.9796 or email

  • Sunday, January 10, 4-5:30pm:
    Magdalene Community meeting

    Come celebrate Mary Magdalene and the Divine Feminine on second Sundays from 4-5:30pm at Grace Episcopal Church at 4040 W. Bellfort in southwest Houston. The group is in the process of discerning what they would like to do in their meetings so come and give them your input and your ideas. They’ll talk about the Divine Feminine from the standpoint of a variety of faith traditions and practices -- the meetings might be experiential in nature and will most likely include music, readings, and other art forms. Men are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The purpose of SPIRIT PICKS is to make you think and to ignite your life. It is a friendly portal of information for those who affiliate with an organized religion, for those who call themselves spiritual, for those who are “free-spirited,” and for those who are agnostics or atheists. This monthly list of events, places, workshops, and more will be varied enough so that everyone, no matter their beliefs, can find something of interest. If you see anything that you think would be good to include in SPIRIT PICKS, please email me.

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  • INTUITIVE GUIDANCE SESSIONS, which are one-on-one consultations with me at Body Mind & Soul on personal and/or work questions. Sessions are one hour or thirty minutes;

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  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, MARKETING, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, GUIDANCE SESSIONS FOR FINDING YOUR PURPOSE, and ART PROGRAMS. Talks and workshops cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, activism, and more. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2016 Sarah Gish

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